A recent forum held by the Student Government Association brought mixed emotions and new ideas to the table for the college.
The hot topics: Slow internet, a tobacco-free campus and the college’s expansion into Rutland.
After a brief greeting and introductions, President of SGA, Timothy Mackintosh opened the floor to discussion of the problems we all face with Wi-Fi at CSC.
“I don’t feel like this is really a debate,” Mackintosh said smiling. “I’ve never had someone come up to me and say, ‘You know Tim, the Internet goes too fast,’ but this is a chance for suggestions and to let the student body know we are working to remedy the problem.”
Mackintosh introduced IT’s Chief Technology Officer, Gayle Malinowski. She agrees that the problem is not an easy one to fix and that in coming semesters, IT will be able to solve the issues. Pending the ending of our current Internet contract in June 2014, Malinowski believes that part of the bidding process for a new provider will be the speed of Internet they can provide. She reminds however, that there are times where the usage simply outweighs the capacity of the servers the college currently functions on.
The dialogue then shifted to the college’s expansion into Rutland for future generations of Castleton students. President Dave Wolk stressed the importance of greater internship opportunities, an integrated Castleton-Rutland economy and the possibility of student centered laboratory learning as highlights of the new vision for Castleton.
“We’ve reached the capacity of our footprint here. Even though we love Castleton, we’re getting to the point where we don’t want to get too crowded,” Wolk said.
Senior Matt Bushey, however, said he worries that the increased separation of the campus might encourage more negative types of socializing, rather than opportunities for success.
“We have a toxic party culture on this campus. I would like the social aspect improved and being on campus and in the tighter knit community provides for that closeness. I can’t see that [expansion] making that party culture any better or easier to control,” said Bushey.
Another concern Bushey voiced was the transferred focus to new Rutland facilities and the possibility of neglect back at the Castle.
“I would really hate to see the entire culture of our school change,” Bushey added.
But SGA Delegate Hollie Nop stressed the importance of building connections with Rutland through creative partnerships with local businesses and companies.
Area Coordinator Shaun Williams agreed.
“This is a way we can support local economy, the future of our students and in addition, providing supplementary income for student who might not otherwise be able to afford tuition,” added Williams.
Freshman Alex Hawley joined the conversation to ask about transportation for those students who may live on campus now.
“If we are going to provide full-time shuttles for students in the future why don’t we do it now?” questioned Hawley.
SGA delegates were quick to ensure that The Bus does service Castleton and has routes through campus six times daily.
The last issue of the night was about tobacco use on campus.
“The suggestion has not been to ban it on campus,” said Mackintosh. “However that chancellor does want to get a census on how students, faculty and staff feel about it on our campuses.”
Bushey was quick to weigh in on this topic as well, noting that people with health issues are at risk by having it used on and around campus.
Student director of CAB, Eric Dowd, was eager to play devil’s advocate and remarked, “What happens next? We ban alcohol? People are going to most likely see this as an infringement of their rights, rather than a concern for public health.”
Finally, for the last display of the evening, Mackintosh was enthusiastic to kick off the new “Spartan Civility Campaign” by awarding the first two tokens to Chris Procida and Anthony Porcelli, two students who assisted in the rescue of a fellow Castleton student involved in a car accident.
The campaign focuses on giving recognition to those who are caught doing random acts of kindness. It also encourages recognition for seldom recognized or even well recognized actions.
“I thought it was only appropriate to award the first two tokens to two students who really demonstrate what civility and honor is here at Castleton, and to thank them for their quick actions in the face of uncertainty,” said Mackintosh.
Procida said he was “shocked and honored” to have been awarded the first token of the campaign.